February 21, 2005
What's the Point?
By Kristian Knutsen
As Rep. Steve Nass simmers over Ward Churchill’s March 1 speaking appearance at UW-Whitewater, zealots in the conservative media are on the prowl for fresh servings of sanctimonious outrage. Specifically, Mark Hyman, host of "The Point" by Sinclair Broadcasting (yes, that Sinclair) went after UW-Superior professor Michael R. Ball on February 16.
As documented by Media Matters, "Hyman smeared two university professors and a college's women's studies program, distorting statements and taking them out of context in order to argue that American universities are home to 'unemployable individuals [who] are paid to proselytize intellectually bankrupt viewpoints'." In addition to attacking a University of Iowa professor who maintains a blog about "The Point" (i.e., The Counterpoint), Hyman smeared Ball as anti-Christian, claiming that Ball "announced in a published paper that he discovered the common thread of hate groups: Christianity."
As pointed out by Media Matters, however, "Ball's 1996 paper focused specifically on American hate groups, and it did not identify Christianity in general as a motivation for hate. Rather, Ball identified a particular ideology, 'Christian Identity' – a distinct and extremist ideology that has little to do with mainstream Christianity -- as one of several 'common threads' among the groups he studied."
David Neiwert, an author who focuses on homegrown extremism, wrote that Hyman is either "a blunderer of the first order, or he's an extremist mole. ... I'm hoping this was just a really dumb mistake." Regardless of how stupid Hyman may or may not be, this kind of shamelessness is merely par for the course from "The Point."
Sinclair remains the subject of ongoing attention from progressive media watchdogs, and is the owner of three stations in Wisconsin; WMSN (Fox 47) in Madison, and WCGV (UPN 24) and WVTV (WB 18) in Milwaukee. And, just so you know, all three stations' current licenses expire on December 1, 2005.
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